I had an opportunity to tour the wedding facilities at Tokyo Disney Resort in March 2010 and thought I’d share what I learned. The Director of Resort Operations and the General Manager of Hotel Mira Costa led me on a fast-paced, expertly timed tour of the wedding sites at Hotel Mira Costa and the Ambassador Hotel, including stops to see parts of actual weddings!
Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings in Tokyo are a bit different. Rather than building your wedding from the ground up, you are required to choose from several packages (the ones at the Ambassador Hotel are themed to each of the princesses), and you can’t really change elements or provide your own, well, anything—even the dress! You have to rent a dress (or two or three) from them. (When I asked how it would work for a Godzilla-sized bride such as myself, they said they’d make it work.) But, like they kept saying, Disney provides a certain kind of wedding, and only people who want that kind of wedding choose Disney, so no one’s upset that they can’t modify the packages. (Don’t get any ideas, DFTW Orlando…)
They do up to eight weddings a day, and they are carefully programmed. Each hotel contains all the facilities you could possibly need, including a bridal salon (like a miniature, crowded Franck’s), a beauty salon, the bridal gown salon, a photo studio, and various waiting rooms. Each wedding party makes the same circuit of the various rooms on their way to the altar and then the reception, one group after another. It’s a pretty slick operation, and I was impressed by how many services they provide.
The average wedding size is 60 or 70 guests, with prices starting around ¥1.5 million ($16,090) for 20 people. I can’t remember if they said the annual number of weddings at Tokyo Disney Resort is 1,400 or 1,800 – must be the latter because they said there are 840 at Mira Costa alone and the Ambassador is actually the more popular venue. So far they have decided not to hold weddings at the new Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, partly because it’s feared that people will stop booking at the other two hotels. There are no in-park events except for the gondola ride add-on to Mira Costa weddings, which I’ll post some pictures of. After the ceremony, the bride and groom and their guests parade through Tokyo Disney Sea to the gondola dock, and then the bride and groom get a private boat ride complete with musicians and singing gondoliers.
The people I spoke with had never heard of the wedding-style vow renewals we have in the States. A few couples have booked anniversary receptions to celebrate, but they’d never heard of having an entire ceremony and everything. I think they were joking when they said I’d given them a great idea for making more money, but I hope they’ll really consider it!
Wedding Chapel at Hotel Mira Costa
The chapel is very intimate—about half the size of the Wedding Pavilion, I’d say—which makes it perfect for weddings with 60 or 70 guests.
The window behind the altar overlooks Tokyo DisneySea’s Mount Prometheus
For the ceremony this fountain is filled with either incense or dry ice (the explanation of the concept was lost in translation!)
View of the chapel from inside Tokyo DisneySea
Gondola Wedding Add-On
For the Gondola wedding, the guests come down first and form a receiving line for the petal toss.
Then the processional musicians arrive…
Hotel Mira Costa Reception Venues
They have Disney character napkin folds – these are Daisy and Donald:
And here’s Mickey:
This room is used as a waiting area for the family and for smaller receptions. It looks right into Tokyo DisneySea.
Sorry, I was kind of obsessed by this ginormous flower arrangement—it was real flowers, and they had two more just like it! This attention to detail and a willingness to spend money on it is a hallmark of the Tokyo Disney Resort.
An interesting thing about this mural – when Disney designed Hotel Mira Costa, they wanted the décor to be elegant and restrained, without any reference to Disney characters. The Oriental Land Co. fought to get them to put in this mural because they knew how much the Japanese love their characters. Now it’s a must-do photo spot for weddings.
This is the beauty salon…
And here’s the bridal salon(…e?) where you try on the dresses…
Flower girl dresses
The wedding planning room is tiny—maybe one-quarter the size of Franck’s—and it was packed with couples and wedding planners at every table. Every table except this one…
I was asked to aim the camera over people’s heads, so… here’s the ceiling!
They had multiple cabinets filled with schwag for the bridal couple to give guests and each other, most of which can only be purchased if you’re having a Tokyo Disney wedding (dang… no bejeweled press-on nails for me!).
This is something called “gradient art” – I think it changes color maybe? For ¥126,000, it dang well better!
Merchandise is also on display in the hall around the corner.
In Japan, Minnie & Mickey are married. I don’t know why they have to hide their love over here!
Disney’s Ambassador Hotel Weddings
Over at the Ambassador Hotel, the theme is all 1930s art deco and Old Hollywood glamour. I got to see this bride preparing to enter the Rose Chapel and then again on her way out with the groom.
This chapel is even smaller than the one at Hotel Mira Costa, but I like how neither of them dwarf smaller wedding parties.
After the ceremony, the bride and groom go outside to a lakeside pavilion to sign their marriage certificate with a few special guests…
The pavilion is adjacent to the Ikspiari shopping mall, but they station cast members at either end so that passersby don’t intrude.
Then it’s off to the reception!
Ambassador Hotel Reception Venues
More clever napkin folds. Is this one Donald or Goofy? I’m thinking Goofy…
Japanese brides, avert your eyes—it’s the Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings Secret Gift!
These placesettings must require a PhD!
The staircase to the wedding area is the Ambassador’s prime photo spot. We happened to see a bride taking photos there later in the trip and got some stalker-style photos…
The Bridal Salon appears to be a little bit larger here, but it was still packed full of planning couples.
Don’t worry – when you’re an actual Tokyo Disney bride, none of this merchandise is blurry…
Ah… remember coat checks? Neither do I!
How about swanky lookin’ escalators?
Bridal gowns are fitted behind these doors…
I loved the Fantasia-inspired art pieces in the hall
Another family waiting room/small reception venue
Inside the photo studio
Family portrait time!
They’ve introduced a pocket-sized album to complement the full-sized one.
And last but not least, after my tour I spotted some wedding merchandise at the Disney Store at Ikspiari and thought you might like some poorly lit photos of it!